The Salem Film Festival

We are in the midst of the Salem Film Festival, ongoing until March 10.  The all-documentary festival, now in its fourth year, is one of several relatively recent initiatives that is bringing life to downtown Salem in the middle of winter.  I love the festival’s slogan (Come to Salem, see the world), which harkens back to the city’s cosmopolitan port days.  This message echoes the programming and marketing of the Peabody Essex Museum, which is currently running a great exhibition of Dutch Golden Age paintings (Golden:  Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection), through June 19.

We had some scheduling and preference conflicts and missed two of the films that were on my list (Bill Cunningham New York and Echotone) but saw Grown in Detroit and Pink Saris this weekend.  Both films are really about attempts to empower teenaged girls, in places as diverse as Detroit and India.  The proposed route to independence in Detroit is urban agriculture, which is apparently one of the few things that is flourishing in the Motor City.  Because of the vacant lots, lack of pesticides, and weeds gone wild, bees and beekeeping are really thriving in Detroit.  Bee City?

A Detroit “feral house” from the great blog Sweet Juniper, which is documenting the highs and lows of living in Detroit in our time.

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